2011 S.C. Pannell Tempranillo Touriga

An exciting and original blend of the indigenous Iberian heavyweights Tempranillo (63%) and Touriga (37%) from renown winemaker Stephen Pannell. His history, knowledge and expertise of the industry listed Pannell as one of the top 50 influential contributors to the world of wine by Decanter Magazine in 1997. That vaunted reputation has seen him go from strength to strength with a portfolio of superb and affordable wines from his small family-owned McLaren Vale winery. 

Blending seamlessly together, the dark and brooding flavours of the Touriga combine with the earthier, savoury aspects of the Tempranillo to produce an approachable, food-friendly wine. My notes point to the intense dark cherry red colour in the glass and to the exotic and complex bouquet of fresh dark fruits, floral aromas, musk, cocoa and liquorice. Texturally silky, medium-bodied and dry but a juicy palate packed with blackberry, dark chocolate and those cherries again, add intensity to the profile. Finishes warm, moderately tannic and spicy. Delicious drinking now in its youth but will kick on until 2017.

Source: Restaurant Wine List. Alcohol: 14.0%. Closure: Screwcap. Rating: 91+ Points.

Website: https://www.pannell.com.au/

2008 Churchview Estate The Bartondale Reserve Marsanne

Marsanne is grown in all mainland states with the bulk of producers located in Victoria. This example from the Churchview Estate winery in Western Australia's Margaret River comes from a small planting started back in 2000.  

Marsanne is an interesting variety in that it tends to polarise opinion. You either love it or you don't and our 150 year plus history with this classic Rhone grape has done little to change that perception. A fickle variety if planted in the wrong terroir it tends to turn out flat and bland in climates that are too cool, flabby and oily in ones that are too warm. Margaret River's mild Mediterranean climate and the winery's boney lateritic gravelly soils are ideal in encouraging low yielding Marsanne grapes. 

A pale lemon green colour in the glass. The aromatics display subtle honeydew, apricot and jasmine nuances, which translate onto the light to medium-bodied palate. Some tight and fleshy citrus with blanched almonds. Creamy, savoury and a mineral edge across the tongue that I liked. Surprisingly and disappointingly falls off the cliff quickly. Not enough oomph to get over the magical ninety point mark but with proper cellaring, would be an interesting prospect in another few years. 

Source: Retail Purchase. Alcohol: 14.0%. Closure: Screwcap. Rating: 89+ Points.
Website: http://www.churchview.com.au/